2005-02-25 / Community

NY Daily News: Russo’s On The Bay Has Mob Ties

By Howard Schwach

Many Rockaway organizations utilize the Russo’s On The Bay catering facility in Howard Beach because it is the nearest such catering hall to the peninsula.

Organizations such as the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation, the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce and the Rockaway Rotary Club has used the facility on a regular basis for their yearly affairs.

The Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department is set for a large 100-year anniversary there early next month.

The New York Daily News on Wednesday, however, in an exclusive report by staff writer Greg B. Smith, has reported that all of those organizations are unwittingly providing money for organized crime groups.

According to Smith, just six weeks ago, top mafia informant Michael (Mickey Scars) DiLeonardo said in open court that the Gambino crime family gets $1 a head for anybody attending any affair at Russo’s, be it a wedding, an anniversary dinner or a civic function. “They take a dollar a head,” DiLeonardo reportedly said during his testimony in the Peter Gotti trial. “For everyone attending a wedding [Russo’s] would kick back a dollar a head to the guys.”

Last November, according to the Daily News, mob turncoat Anthony Rotondo testified at the same trial that Russo’s “kicked up money to the Gambino’s.” According to the paper, as far back as 2002, the Federal Bureau of Investigation alleged in Brooklyn Federal Court that Russo’s owner, Frank Russo, was a Gambino associate who visited Gene Gotti in prison.

The catering hall is not on the NYPD’s list of banned establishments, which would forbid police officers or officials from entering without permission. Neither the owner nor his spokesperson would comment to The Wave on the Daily News’ allegations.

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